Greece and Israel on a cooperation trajectory

Greece and Israel on a cooperation trajectory

Athens, May 6, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

The Deputy Minister for Research and Technology, professor Costas Fotakis and the Chief Scientist of Israel, Avi Hasson, held a meeting on Thursday concerning the expansion of cooperation between Greece – Israel in the areas of Research and Innovation.

Mr Hasson is the government official who coordinates Israel’s policy in innovation and entrepreneurship. His visit to Greece is within the framework of the Joint Declaration issued on January 27, 2016 by the Prime Ministers of Greece and Israel, Alexis Tsipras and Benjamin Netanyahu, in Jerusalem, to promote cooperation between the two states in the fields of research and entrepreneurship, using innovation as a lever. Among other things, the programme “Huranos”, which aims at the development of a framework of cooperation for the two countries in a competitive ecosystem of startups based in Research and Innovation.

In a joint press conference, Mr Hasson and Mr Fotakis announced the second joint call to Israeli and Greek companies, with a possible participation of research and academic institutions and wider promotion of international cooperation for proposals for joint research and development projects under the bilateral Agreement Greece – Israel 2006 for Cooperation in the Private Sector, the Industrial Research and Development. Funding has come from the Structural Funds (NSRF) for Greece and the respective resources for Israel. The tender will take place in 2016 in two stages for all subject areas of common interest, focusing in the first instance on cooperation in the fields of Agricultural food, Health and Drug Sciences, Energy and the Environment. In a second phase, actions will be launched for Information and Communication Technology, Culture-Tourism, Cultural and Creative Industries, Materials and Transport (Logistic). It is noteworthy that the first public notice was made in 2013 with great success and implementation of 31 joint projects.

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Mr Hasson said he had a very constructive discussion with Mr Fotakis and the General Secretary of Research and Development, prof. Thomas Maloutas, in which also participated the President of the Special Permanent Committee of the Greek Parliament for Research and Technology, MP Nektarios Santorinis, in the presence of the Ambassador of Israel Mr. Irit Ben Abba and partners from both sides. He stressed that the program for joint research and development projects is an effective way to cultivate synergies between innovative companies between Greece and Israel. He also said that Israel has a highly developed entrepreneurial startups ecosystem that includes more than 5,000 startups, while 250 multinationals have R&D centers in the country. In Greece, he said, he has begun to develop a very interesting community of startups through the “Huranos” programme. Israel seeks to promote cooperation in the startup, mentoring entrepreneurship both with government agencies and with entrepreneurs. For this reason he will meet with representatives of the public and private sectors.

On his part, Mr Fotakis said that synergies in the field of innovative entrepreneurship between the two countries expand the good cooperation climate and at the same time are positively fed from it. The experiences of Israel in the exploitation of research results is remarkable and may be useful for the development of relevant initiatives in Greece. Greece has excellent human resources and entrepreneurship startups is an emerging sector and may contribute to the creation of the Knowledge Economy as a development pillar. In particular, the continued cooperation with Israel can upgrade and include investments in joint twinning actions between Science and Technology agencies of the two countries.

Photos Spiros Sideris/IBNA